Harrison’s Gems

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Back again with another installment of our conversations with Harrison. This kid really does make me laugh. I do not know where he comes up with this stuff.

H: (before rest time) You know what, Mom?

M: What?

H: I’m going to use this time to come up with funny jokes.

M: Okay. Just do it quietly.

H: Okay, Mom.

 

H: Do you know what a mountain goat’s favorite flavor of ice cream is?

(Well, do you?)

H: Rocky Road (current favorite joke via Ranger Rick)

 

H: I need to eat this little piece of bacon, Mommy.

M: Why? 

H: Oh, it might spoil. (wouldn’t what that to happen, would we?)

 

(leaving PaPa and Grammy’s house)

G: Tell Beckett ‘hi’ for us.

H: Okay. I will have Mommy take a picture of me telling him ‘hi’ and send it to you. (if you’re wondering, we did just that.)

 

M: (after H passed gas several times) Do you need to go to the bathroom again before bed?

H: No.

M: You don’t need to try and poop?

H: If I need to poop, I will save it until the morning.

M: We don’t ‘save’ poops, Harrison.

H: No. I just mean I will save it until I wake up. (Isn’t that the same thing?)

You can read more of Harrison’s gems, here, here, and here.

 

 

 

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Our 4th

We had a fun 4th of July this year. We ended up going out to David’s Grandma Bunge’s and having a nice time with the Bunge clan.

Harrison helped me make some mini fruit pizzas.

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Harrison got to play on the farm and ride around on the Gator.  Good food was involved, and everyone had fun just spending time together.

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There were a few fireworks (nothing big).

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Harrison wasn’t too sure. Once he warmed up, he awaited each firework with eager anticipation.

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I think one of my favorite photos from the day was this one I took with my phone on our way home. We offered to take cousin Jenna home so she could go to a friend’s house. She certainly earned the ride.

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Harrison’s Gems

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Whew, there have been quite a few of these, lately. Honestly, I should do a weekly post of “Harrison’s Gems”, but I forget to write them down sometimes, then I’m left trying to remember how they came out, and what the context was. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, my brain is no longer capable of remembering anything other than I thought it was funny or clever. Bummer.

I do have a lot since the last time I posted, so I will help myself out (since I already fell off my 2x/week-post-wagon) and just share a few this time around. One thing is evident by these snippets into Harrison’s life. He loves his family fiercely. Even when talking about what seems like the smallest things, he gets super excited. It’s hard to convey that in writing, but this boy lights up when he talks about his family. His whole demeanor changes, and there is something different about him. His voice changes, and he gets a big smile.

H: (showing me the wooden beads he strung) I made this necklace for Grandpa.

M: You mean, ‘Nana’?

H: No. It’s for Grandpa.

M: Why is the necklace for Grandpa?

H: Oh, he needs color. 

 

H: I love finding worms, Mommy. 

M: Why do you like that so much?

H: Because Ketcher asked me. 

 

H: (on the way to the Farmer’s Market) Is Uncle Scott meeting us, Mommy?

M: Yes.

H: I want to hold Uncle Scott’s hand.

 

Daddy, if you’re reading this: There are no super-special-secret foods you can eat with or around Harrison. I’m not sure why you haven’t figured that one out yet. I present Exhibit A:

H: You know what, Mommy?!

M: What, Harrison?

H: Me and Daddy ate a secret-special burrito and fries. Daddy said it was a secret. (I don’t even want to know where from.)

You can catch up on some of Harrison’s other gems here, here, and here.

Best. Dad. Ever.

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I think that about sums it up. Shortest post ever.

 

 

 

…Of course not! First of all, I am not a woman of few words. Second of all, I can’t let Father’s Day pass (too much longer) without informing the masses about my most wonderful husband.  See, in my opinion, and our boys’, David is the Best. Dad. Ever.  And that’s all that really matters. He is the best dad our two boys could ask for.  He also happens to be the best dad I could have asked for for them.  Good thing.

Days like Mother’s and Father’s Day are pretty important around here. I get just as excited plotting planning for this occasion, as I do for birthdays or other holidays.  There’s just something about putting together a day devoted to the man who helps you raise your children. I think it’s extra special around here because we happen to have two boys. I can only hope they continue to desire to be just like their daddy. 

We didn’t give him breakfast in bed, but we did let David pick his breakfast and hang the card on the door. We are nothing if not fancy-schmancy around here. My original plan was to let David “sleep-in” while Harrison helped me with breakfast and Beckett played. As it turned out, both boys ended up in our room playing with Daddy. It was really kind of perfect because what better way to start the day with your boys who want nothing but to spend time with you? I could hear them laughing and reading stories while I made breakfast. Um, it was like I planned the perfect father-son bonding time. You know, except for a few thuds and crying (I kid, I kid…).

We gave David a few cards and gifts after breakfast.  Harrison was excited about giving David his cards since he pretty much picked them all (yes, there were multiple) out.  He also loves “helping” people open gifts.

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I’m sure you notice David wearing two different shirts. He’s such an awesome dad, that pretty much as soon as he opened the t-shirt at the beginning of this post, he changed into it.  He also read the books the boys gave him more than a few times to Harrison (while Beckett walked around with one of the cards they gave him). That last picture is David reading an “About my dad” questionnaire Harrison answered. I started this with Harrison last year, and I hope to continue it with him, and Beckett, throughout the years.

The rest of the day was full of fun (park time), relaxing for Daddy (while Beckett napped, and I took Harrison on a walk), and special treats. We had our first ever crab boil, and a 7-layer s’mores cake was involved. The cake may have been David’s favorite part.

More than gifts or this post could ever say, this day was to celebrate the wonderful way in which David is a father to his sons.  I count my blessings every day that I married him and that my boys get to know him as their father. We love you, David/Daddy!

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Day Trip: PaPa and Grammy’s House

Now that it’s summer time, and Harrison is out of school, I like to take him places to keep him busy (especially with Beckett still napping twice/day). I am blessed to be afforded this luxury since David is usually working from home. All of our trips so far have been “local” (library, parks, the zoo). This time, though, we headed to Mexico (Missouri) to visit my parents; the aforementioned, PaPa and Grammy.
We headed out yesterday mid-morning, and we were back this afternoon. This was just long enough to spend quality time with my parents and let Harrison be the center of attention. It was a nice trip.
Pretty much the first thing Harrison does when we get to my parents’ is get his bin of trucks toys out. His favorite is a Fisher-Price Western set my brothers and I played with. The indoor play didn’t last long. He quickly wanted to head outside. He helped Grammy pick flowers and picked up sticks around the back so PaPa wouldn’t run over them with his mower.

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This wore him out enough to actually fall asleep during his rest time. Or to be very very quiet, at least. He did mention something about roly-polies to my mom when he came up. I personally think he slept. He is not one to remain quietly in a room for over an hour without being asleep.
I was able to visit with a good friend who happened to be in town for a few days. It’s always nice when those things work out. She and her husband just celebrated 8 years of marriage, and are headed on a weekend trip to celebrate. Have fun you two!
Harrison barely made it out of the bathroom before he was outside again. This time, there was golfing, hauling, digging, and climbing involved. Sometimes I wonder where his “off” switch is. Seriously. I want to find it and power him off for a few hours during the day sometimes.
PaPa grilled, and Harrison tried to eat all the chicken. I think he ate two drumsticks, half of a small breast, and a bunch of grilled vegetables. Then he remembered he had water, and guzzled a huge glass of that. I was worn out just watching him eat.
Today, was a lot of fun. We headed to Plunkett Park with Grammy for a little bit. Harrison dug in the sand and then wanted to go hiking. He pointed out the ants.

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From the park, we headed to Brick City Bistro. So many yummy scones, so little time to eat them all. We went with butterscotch.

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After carb-loading and coffee drinking (not Harrison), we walked down to another local shop, Scrapbook Store and More. Harrison had fun building puzzles while my mom and I looked around. Harrison somehow convinced Grammy to get him something. We spent a good half hour in there just looking around and talking to the owner. I was reminded why I love a small(er) town so much. Harrison was quite the charmer.
After some lunch and more playing, it was time for us to head back home. It didn’t take too long before Harrison was asleep and doing his own Napoleon.

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Structuring Our Summer

When I shared pictures from our first zoo day, I mentioned that it was part of Harrison’s  summer “schedule”. There were a few reasons we decided Harrison, and we, would benefit from structure to his day over these summer months.

  • For the past 9 months, Harrison went to school five days/week from 8:15 – 1.  He got use to, and thrived upon, a consistent morning routine, school, rest time/nap, etc.
  • Harrison needs structure. We worked hard to establish this consistency, and we didn’t want to mess with it. Harrison knew he had to get up, “make” his bed, brush teeth/potty, get dressed… He did this all with little help from us, and we didn’t want to step backwards and start veering from what he was use to.  This doesn’t mean he doesn’t stay in pajamas a little longer on the weekends, but he honestly prefers to get ready for the day first thing.
  • Routine is good. A consistent routine is even better. If Harrison knows what to expect, with some flexibility, he likes that. So do we.
  • If Harrison doesn’t have anything to do, he starts clinging to us. Sometimes, it feels likes he’s literally clinging. to. us. I love my first-born, but when he clings, he starts becoming a little whiny, and he suddenly needs help with everything. He also gets into trouble.
  • We don’t want to feel like we’re starting over come September. There really isn’t a reason to deviate from the norm, other than Harrison is at home instead of school 5 days/week.
  • Oh yea, that’s the real reason. Harrison is home 5 extra days a week, and that’s some serious entertaining to do when your child is 3 1/2. Throw a 14-month-old in there, and it starts to feel like a circus act. Not in a “I’d pay money to see that” kind of circus act. Unless of course, you are in the habit of paying to watch other people suffer. I kid…. Honestly, Harrison thrives when given structured independence (i.e., I set up his environment so he can pick what to do with little assistance from me).

So, where did we start? We happened to read this article, which I also mentioned before. We paired this information along with Harrison’s typical routine, and tossed in some summer fun.

  1. Bracket the day:
  • We start the day the same way. Harrison’s morning routine (bathroom, get dressed, put pajamas away, “make” bed), followed by breakfast. Twice a week, Harrison is responsible for planning breakfast. It can be as simple as deciding it’s cereal and fruit, or more involved like pancakes or waffles. Harrison loves helping in the kitchen, and he received some kitchen tools for Christmas this past year, so he has everything he needs to make breakfast. He also has to take care of the class rabbit (we have her for several weeks) and help water plants.
  • We end the day with a bath (most nights) and a bedtime story. Sometimes, this is a short book, but most of the time it’s 20 minutes or more of a chapter book or David telling a story. While the length of time may change, there is always a story.

2. Establish Periodicity: 

  • We have activities that occur each day. Monday mornings, Harrison runs errands with me while Beckett naps.  Tuesdays and Thursdays, we hit up a park nearby. Wednesdays, we hit up the zoo. Once a month, we will go someplace else (Museum of Transportation, Myseum, Botanical Gardens…). Fridays, we go to the library and hike on the nature trails nearby. David and I also keep our eyes and ears out for other events going on. If there’s something happening on a Monday, we don’t rule it out just because that’s set aside for errands. We obviously have some flexibility.
  • Within each day, we also try to keep the schedule as consistent as possible. Except for Wednesdays, when we try to leave the house earlier than 10, and Harrison and I are gone most of the day, the day usually looks the same with a few variables. Both boys have independent/free play after breakfast. When Beckett goes down for his morning nap, Harrison and I leave for a morning activity before lunch. We come home for lunch, play time, and then rest/quiet time in his room. Right now, he has his basket of books in his room during this time, but I am thinking of adding journaling, in the form of pictures. This is something I would do with him. I would journal with him, or he could dictate to me, or something else.  After rest in his room, Harrison has quiet activity time while Beckett is taking his afternoon nap. Many of these activities are things he can do independently. The idea is that he does them while I am also working. Sometimes, I am in the room with him, but other times, I am taking care of other things, and he can come to me if he needs some help. I asked his teacher for some ideas a few months back, and I’m glad I did. I think I would have focused on too many challenging tasks and missed the point of quiet activities. There are one or two activities that require my assistance/supervision (cutting, pricking), but most of the activities are pretty simple for Harrison (lacing, stringing beads, building puzzles, crayon work). After this, David usually comes home, or it’s snack time, and we go get Beckett up.

3. Keep spontaneity:

  • surprise them, but keep the surprises low-key: This is key! I do not tell Harrison the day before, or even the morning of, that we are making s’mores, for example. If I do this, he will ask about it all day. He will also ask to eat marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate before we even have s’mores.
  • make the surprises low-stakes: This means it’s okay if they don’t happen. Don’t make the surprise a family trip. This would be bad on multiple levels, but mostly because no one wants to feel unprepared for something as big as a trip. These types of surprises quickly become stressful for everyone.
  • If it is a big deal, tell them ahead of time. When we go somewhere else on zoo day, or any day, I let Harrison know in advance. If appropriate, we may read about the place we are going, talk about expectations, look at pictures.

4. Continue chores:

  • Don’t let your child(ren) out of chores because it’s summer. This isn’t an issue with Harrison. Maybe older children will feel less inclined to continue chores because it’s summer? We don’t call them “chores” anyway.
  • Consistency and contribution are critical. I talked about how Harrison contributes in this post. 

This is just Harrison’s everyday “schedule” during the weekdays. There is more flexibility during the weekends, but we ALWAYS start and end the day the same. These are key for Harrison. We may not do quiet activities because we are out/spending time with family, though. We also still make time for just spending time together as a family. I don’t want to leave the impression that we schedule Harrison’s entire day down to the minute or that we never do anything without first planning for it. We play games, go on walks, visit the pool (as soon as it warms up), run around, whatever. It’s just nice to not be trying to randomly fill time all day, every day.

Does anyone else do this, or a variation of this, for their kids over the summer? Is it all summer camps and then free time once your kids are at home? Harrison did summer camp last year, and we plan on having him attend one at least one month this summer.  I’d also love any information on events/places around here that we should make sure to check out over the summer. This is just our second summer here, so I’m still not entirely versed on places to go/things to do.

Our Memorial Day Weekend

Like most things, I am just getting around to our Memorial Day weekend almost 2 weeks after the fact. It was a nice weekend. By that, I mean it was full of the essentials. You know: good food, family, fun… (Yes, those are in the right order.)

Friday night, Harrison planned dinner, and we had a movie night. This was a special night for him, as he had just finished another wonderful school year, and we had told him we were having a night for him. He chose homemade fish sticks, sweet potato fries, and asparagus for dinner, and Ratatouille for our movie. We even had popcorn. Harrison loved it!

Saturday, we all enjoyed lunch at Trailhead Brewing Company in St. Charles. We hadn’t eaten there yet, and my older brother was able to meet us. That’s always awesome in Harrison’s book. Not that the rest of us don’t enjoy my brother; Harrison just really really loves when he knows Uncle Scott will be somewhere. It warms my heart.

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IMG_3262Just kidding. Beckett just had his eyes on more food.

I also happened to capture one of my new favorite photos of Harrison.

IMG_3264Saturday was our pizza night. We used the bread machine I got for Mother’s Day. I am in love! I was already loving making our own bread, but I was officially in after making pizza dough. The ease of the bread machine combined with the technique from The Splendid Table, makes some pretty darn good crust.

Sunday, we drove to Marthasville to David’s grandma’s house. We spent time with David’s parents, his great-Grandma (obviously), and his Aunt Pat and cousin, Jenna. Harrison played around on the farm, rode the gator with Grandpa and Jenna, and walked Maggie. Beckett mostly slept, but he sure enjoyed playing with everyone when he was awake.  I think David and I enjoyed being able to just sit and talk with everyone.

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Monday, we stayed at home, and Uncle Scott came over to eat with us. I told you food was critical to a good weekend. David grilled, and the boys played outside. We tried to take a walk to the lake nearby, but the weather deterred us. That just meant wrestling Uncle Scott in the basement. Poor Uncle Scott.

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It was such a wonderful weekend! Long weekends are always nice, but fill them with family and good food, and they are even better.

Zoo Day!

Today, Harrison and I went to the zoo (along with everyone’s cousin and their dog). It happened to be our “zoo day”.  After reading an article in the last newsletter from Harrison’s school, David and I decided we needed to sit down and come up with a summer schedule for Harrison. We were already thinking of making a schedule, but reading the article was a friendly reminder to get on it, ‘yo. No, don’t do that. Yeah, the “‘yo'” may have been a bit much.

I’ll write another post about Harrison’s summer schedule, but today is about Zoo Day. We decided every Wednesday will be a day for us to go to the zoo. The St. Louis Zoo is (amazingly) free, but we also received a membership this past Christmas.  That gives us even more incentive to go.  Who doesn’t love free train rides and admission to the Children’s Zoo, to name a few perks. There are plenty of indoor exhibits, too, so we will not be deterred by rain or heat. This trip, we covered: River’s Edge, The Insectarium, and The Children’s Zoo. Not so say we won’t revisit. Honestly, there weren’t many animals out in River’s Edge. We basically saw a hyena and the Asian elephants. Good thing we will be back.

You may have already seen these pictures, but here is a little recap:

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Asian elephant.

He always has to ride the frogs before we go inside at the Children's Zoo.

He always has to ride the frogs before we go inside at the Children’s Zoo.

I wasn't so sure this meerkat was real.

I wasn’t so sure this meerkat was real.

Of all the animals to learn about, Harrison wanted to know more about...guinea pigs.

Of all the animals to learn about, Harrison wanted to know more about…guinea pigs.

Driving through rough waters.

Driving through rough waters.

These statues were a close second to the real things.

These statues were a close second to the real things.

When your 3 1/2 year-old requests a picture, you take it.

When your 3 1/2 year-old requests a picture, you take it.

I had to take his picture 3 times :).

I had to take his picture 3 times :).

We planned on riding the train, but I waited until we were close to leaving (mid-afternoon), and that was a mistake! The lines were ridiculously long. Fortunately, Harrison was okay with waiting until next time. I will make sure to do that first thing. I’m sure someone will remind me if I forget, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Inside the Box?!

It’s okay, you can look. It is not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.

So, a few days ago, I showed you how I came up with this nice gift box:

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I also said I would show you what was inside. Well, it was the monthly onesies from my friend’s Sprinkle.  I had guests write on notecards that would be attached to each onesie so that Lindsey could read a nice little note as she pulled one out each month. As cute as the onesies looked on their own, I didn’t want to just hand them over. I’m all about presentation. So, I started with these:

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And the notes from everyone:

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I decided I would affix the notes to each onesie with a little washi tape, and then bundle them with ribbon. It turned out that bundling two together worked out best for the box I had. You could do it however you wanted. This is how mine turned out:

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*Excuse the pictures. Once again, taken with my phone.  

And, here they are all bundled together in the box, ready to be handed over:

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I was so happy with how these turned out, and I think they may become my new “go-to” baby shower gift.  I think that they are such a wonderful reminder for parents to take a little time each month to capture a few moments on camera. The notes are a nice addition, and can work whether this is done at a shower or given as a gift from one person.

*The monthly transfers I used can be found here

A {Quick} Homemade Gift Box

*Sorry for the poor photos. I took them all with my phone’s camera. 

One of my favorite blogs to read is Young House Love. So much inspiration over there. Well, a month ago, there was a post about an art box they created. I kind of filed that away for later. “Later” came a lot sooner than I thought. I didn’t need an art box, but I had something to give a friend. It wasn’t a gift since she’d already seen it. Thinking about the function of said box, I wanted/needed something nice to present the items, though.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • box
  • wrapping paper or other paper
  • tape
  • scissors

I had a box, but it had a store name all over the top of it.  I knew I didn’t want to “wrap” the entire box as one; rather, each part.  Like I said, this wasn’t a gift, per se.  I used two different papers because I didn’t feel like the whole box should be covered in the pattern.   It’s pretty busy. This is a good way to get more mileage out of your paper, too. I am not in the habit of buying expensive paper, but this could be a great way to wrap more gifts in nice paper.

Okay, so here’s what I started with (minus box):

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A quick wrap and taping of my box, and I had this:

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I thought this looked fine with just the paper, but I had some tissue paper flowers left over from another craft, so I decided to add a couple to my box.

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There you have it! Pretty simple, eh? I’d show you what’s inside, but that’s for another post.

*The paper flower tutorial can be found here